A Frenchman recently visited us. Not so much. Moderately shabby, moderately silly, but with a touch of such charm and courtesy, which is inherent in all the descendants of D’Artagnan. He gave me flowers and small souvenirs, pushed back the chair in our evening gatherings. The woman’s heart was from what, well, if not to melt, then to beat tremblingly, and to turn pink on her cheeks.

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The guest liked to chat, and I love to listen and pick up stories and portraits in the piggy bank of life. The husband happily used the opportunity to speak in his native language, so he diligently translated. The Frenchman’s story is as follows. At 56 years old, not particularly attached to a permanent job, he actively traveled around Eastern Europe. Only in it any shabby western bon vivant can feel like an enviable gentleman. And what journey of a lonely gentleman can do without a lady?

Our Fifi could not do without a lady and somewhere in Poland he met a Ukrainian woman who worked there. The woman was not so young, 51 years old, but quite fit and attractive. A passion flared up between them, which was not extinguished even by the language barrier. Passion blazed for about six months. Fifi either came to Poland, then took the lady to the nearest countries, until suddenly the lady began to turn on the back: she stopped answering calls, messages and letters received a response for at least a week.


Fifi came to Kyiv all so in love, with a screensaver of the lady of the heart on a smartphone and in sincere bewilderment “Why is she behaving like this? Still, it was good.” I also wondered what went wrong, because both the age of both and the family and social status allowed them to create a wonderful couple. And even the fact that Philip wore sandals under the suit was not a hindrance to happiness.

We started to figure it out. Like any sane woman, I asked Philip what he offered her, maybe to live together, take her to France or settle with her in Poland? To which Philip scaredly said “No, she has a mother in Ukraine, to whom she sends money. And also a daughter. If she moves to France, she won’t be able to work. Will I be able to help her relatives with money? I’m not sure”. I asked if the woman had ever asked Philip for money. He replied “no, she didn’t ask, but I never give women money on principle”.

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He went on to say that there was a moment when a woman in Poland lost her job. With work, she lost her home, as it was official. Therefore, she was interrupted somewhere by acquaintances until she got a job again. What did Fifi do? Maybe he sent her money, offered to live with him, rented an apartment for a woman for at least a month? No. He came and spent the weekend with her in some hotel, where he gave the lady massage and gommage, and also gave her amazing sex. A woman who is left without housing and work in a foreign country, with two relatives in Ukraine who are waiting for her help, to get a gommage … (this is a kind of peeling).

After that, it became immediately clear to me what had gone wrong. And Philip continued to share that he was also afraid that the woman would realize that he was not rich. Say, it is in Riga that he can buy a bottle of wine for 40 euros, because in France it costs 150 euros. In France, he cannot afford such wine. To my question, does this particular woman need wine for 40 euros, or even more so for 150, or is she enough wine for 5 euros and a normal life, Fifi froze in surprise. Apparently the idea that a woman does not confuse him with Bernard Arnault did not occur to him anyway.


Then there was another hour of longing, surprise and resentment “I’m so cool, I do such a super massage and gommage, and she behaves like this, she probably has another man, why is she like that, because it was still so wonderful, I even started learning Russian.”

Later, my husband and I laughed for a long time, I said that Philip taught us: a man should come home with flowers and give his wife a massage. And my husband answered that if I was left without work and money, he would definitely come, give me a gommage, give me delicious sex and leave. And this is Philip’s science too.


And then I didn’t laugh. I spent more than one year of my life on such gentlemen. “I’m 50 years old, I’m not ready yet”, “we’ve only been dating for 2 years – this is not enough to make such serious decisions”, “darling, I’m waiting for you in Dubrovnik, just get there yourself, you are an independent, modern woman”. Grown up, but not matured boys who sincerely believe that they are gifts in themselves. Yes, they can make you laugh, have fun with them and really arrange some kind of sexual adventure for yourself. But what’s next? At the age of 20, you can go crazy with his gray eyes, the relief of his hands and a new position in sex. At 40 and 50, you appreciate men for something else. For the ability to simply divide life in half. For being able to say “I am, I am there, now you are no longer alone”.

I don’t know if Fifi will grow up. It was evident that he was sincerely in love with his Larisa. But if a woman has to choose whether to be with a man-child, she will most likely choose to be alone and keep looking. From a man you want exactly a man, and you can always give birth to a child.

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